Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2012

Prairie Ridge: Community support needed to win $50,000 technology grant

Prairie Ridge Elementary fourth-graders don Clorox costumes for a photo that will be sent out to parents as promotion for Clorox's Power A Bright Future contest. Through the contest, the school hopes to win a $50,000 technology grant. Pictured from left are Cole Knappen, Noah Puccio and Jackson Penney.

Prairie Ridge Elementary fourth-graders don Clorox costumes for a photo that will be sent out to parents as promotion for Clorox's Power A Bright Future contest. Through the contest, the school hopes to win a $50,000 technology grant. Pictured from left are Cole Knappen, Noah Puccio and Jackson Penney.

November 15, 2012, 4:14 p.m.

Updated: November 20, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

Filling the expensive need for technology in schools isn’t easy for struggling public school districts.

This year, however, students and staff at Prairie Ridge Elementary are trying to earn some much-needed technology funds themselves — but they need the community to help them do it.

The school is taking part in Clorox’s Power A Bright Future contest, in which schools can win up to a $50,000 grant based on the number of votes from community members they receive.

Voting for the contest opened Nov. 12.

Clorox allowed schools to enter the contest in one of three categories — sports and exercise (Play) the arts (Create) or technology (Explore) — and one top-voted school from each category will receive a $25,000 grant. Additionally, a grant of $50,000 will be awarded to the school with the highest number of votes overall.

Prairie Ridge teachers Denise Porras and Shelee Brim said entering in the technology category was an easy decision to make.

“Right now our technology, a lot of it’s outdated; the batteries are dying and the kids have a long wait time,” Brim said, especially during state assessments, which are all done on computer. “We want to get more technology in the kids’ hands because that’s what life is about now.”

Prairie Ridge is the only Shawnee-based school in the contest. If it’s successful in its bid for one of the grants, Porras and Brim said, future additions to classrooms might include new interactive Smart Boards or laptops. But there is no definite plan yet, Porras said.

“It will be to increase technology and we will look at where our needs are in our building,” she said. “And we hope to be able to do a lot of things with that, but the teachers and staff members will decide where our need is.”

So here’s how to vote: text “1044pbf” to 95248 or go to vote232.com and create an account. Anyone 13 and older can vote until Dec. 19, when voting closes, and participants can vote both ways once every 24 hours.

The hope is that they will, Porras said.

“The big thing is to vote daily,” she said. “It’s not just a one and done.”

First-grade teacher Lindsey Sudac said teachers have been spreading the word through Facebook and daily email reminders to parents, and that seems to be paying off. Though Prairie Ridge is up against 2,501 schools across the country for a grant, it’s got a good, solid footing already in the competition — as of Sunday, it had received the greatest number of votes in the Explore category.

And Prairie Ridge has a few more chances to win, even if it doesn’t end up with the most votes. According to contest details found on powerabrightfuture.clorox.com, three additional schools will receive a $25,000 grant based on judging.

Winners will be announced early next year.

Last school year, Mize Elementary entered the contest, but didn’t win a grant, though it did win a $50,000 grant toward technology through another national contest, the Pepsi Refresh Project.

This story has been updated to reflect a correction to the age at which community members can vote.

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